Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cruising the Web

While Steve Bannon has a horrible background of letting racist and anti-Semitic articles be posted on his website and is a distressing choice to be the new president's chief strategist, the Democrats' don't seem to mind their own appalling figures. Leaders such as Harry Reid are endorsing Representative Keith Ellison as the new head of the DNC. This is a man who has been a 9/11 Truther and analogized the role of the Jews in 9/11 to the role of the Nazis in the Reichstag fire. Scott Johnson, who is from Minnesota and so has followed Ellison's career for a long time, has more on Ellison's history.
Ellison’s public agitation on behalf of the Nation of Islam extends back to his days as a law student at the University of Minnesota Law School through his first attempt to secure the Democratic endorsement for a state legislative seat. Over the years Ellison agitated on behalf of the Nation of Islam he operated under names including Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad. I summarized this aspect of Ellison’s rise in the Weekly Standard article “Louis Farrakhan’s first Congressman” and the companion Power Line post “Keith Ellison for dummies.”

Ellison’s freedom from media scrutiny has served him well so far. Apart from an extremely misleading letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council in 2006, Ellison has never had to account, explain or apologize for his long-time membership in and advocacy of the Nation of Islam. Rather, Ellison has lied about it, minimized it and suppressed it. In his own memoir Ellison rewrites his past, presenting himself as a critic of the Nation of Islam for its bigotry and hatred. He does not confide in readers that the source of his knowledge is personal and that it comes from the inside. I don’t think much of the Democratic Party or its leaders, but I have to ask whether Democrats really know what they are buying with Ellison.
Johnson wrote back in 2011 about Ellison,
Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam includes his support of “the truth” of Joanne Jackson’s condemnation of Jews in 1997 as “the most racist white people.” In his May 28 letter to the JCRC, Ellison went out of his way to state that, unlike others, he did not come to the defense of the statement that created the controversy that engulfed Joanne Jackson. Rather, according to Ellison, he only called for dialogue. This too is demonstrably false.

Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam is not the most offensive of his public associations and commitments. That distinction must belong to Ellison’s work with Minneapolis gang leader and murderer Sharif Willis following the 1992 murder of Minneapolis Police Officer Jerry Haaf.
Yup, choosing Ellison to head up the DNC is not quite the way to bring back the voters that the Democrats lost this past election. Even President Obama is criticizing the Clinton campaign's lack of outreach to those voters.
"You know, I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win Iowa," Obama said Monday. "It was because I spent 87 days going to every small town and fair and fish fry and VFW hall, and there were some counties where I might have lost, but maybe I lost by 20 points instead of 50 points."

"There are some counties maybe I won that people didn't expect, because people had a chance to see you and listen to you and get a sense of who you stood for and who you were fighting for," he added.

Hillary Clinton's 36-year-old campaign manager, Robby Mook, argued during the election that the key to victory lay in courting young, Latino and black voters. They took for granted the minority of white voters in places like Youngstown, Ohio, that Democrats still need in order to win.

The one person on the Clinton campaign who pushed back on Mook's strategy was Bill Clinton, who launched a lonely, one-man war later in the election to court voters ignored by Mook and other senior staffers. Amazingly enough, the former president was reportedly dismissed outright as a has-been whose political star had faded long ago.

Hillary Clinton went on to lose to Trump across the Midwest....

Obama won 41 percent of rural voters in 2008. His support slipped in 2012 to 38 percent. Hillary Clinton, for her part, earned only 29 percent of rural and small-town voters, while Trump bagged an impressive 71 percent, according to exit polls.

Obama said this week, "How we organize politically, I think, is something that we should spend some time thinking about. I believe that we have better ideas, but I also believe that good ideas don't matter if people don't hear them."

"And one of the issues the Democrats have to be clear on is, given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grassroots level, something that's been a running thread in my career," he added.

Mark Hemingway has a great line and premise: "Hillary Clinton Was The Lady Ghostbusters Of Presidential Candidates." He reminds us of the terribly unfunny trailer for the new Ghostbusters movie and the controversy that erupted as people criticized it. Those criticisms were met with the demand that we all approve of the movie because the new stars in the remake are women and we must support the movie or be considered sexist.
The drones at the social justice hot take factory started pulling extra shifts and calling any criticism of the movie sexist. Soon, the cast of Ghostbusters got high on their own outrage supply. They gave an interview with the New York Times with the hammer-meet-coffin-nail headline, “Who’s Afraid of An All Female Ghostbusters?” In May, the cast appeared on Ellen with… Hillary Clinton, and by then the juxtaposition was painfully obvious. (To quote PCU, a genuinely underappreciated comedy about the dangers of political correctness, “This is my thesis man! This is my closing argument! I CAN STOP WATCHING TV!”) And if it weren’t clear where the cast stood, a few weeks after the movie’s release in July the film’s Twitter account actually issued an endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
The movie was a flop, rather like their candidate. Yet we were instructed that we must support Hillary or we would be, of course, sexist. Yet just as women weren't interested in seeing an unfunny Ghostbusters, even if it featured women, many women didn't feel that they had to support Hillary simply because she has ovaries.
Despite the media’s extraordinary efforts to drag Clinton over the finish line, voters—and notably female voters—weren’t impressed. A majority of white women voted against her, which, in the words of another writer also published in the New York Times, is proof “white women will pawn their humanity for the safety of white supremacy.” Not that they’ll care much about my opinion as white male, but I humbly suggest my friends on the left refine that argument a bit before the next election.

Anyway, this brings us to a second observation: Whether you are a former secretary of State or an actress successful enough to be starring in one of Hollywood’s most eagerly anticipated summer tentpoles, blaming sexism for career setbacks, fairly or not, doesn’t make you terribly sympathetic when you’ve already experienced more success than 99.9 percent of the rest of America.

Finally, both Ghostbusters and Clinton did not benefit from trying to present themselves as making a feminist statement when they were simultaneously following a path previously trod by men. In the case of Ghostbusters, a cast of enormously talented and funny women had to measure up to roles defined by iconic comics who happened to be men. Making a new Ghostbusters would be a tough act for anyone to follow, regardless of the sex of the cast.

With Clinton, feminists seemed to be arguing that, yes, America can elect a woman, provided she’s married to a former president. I’m sorry, this is not a dig on Clinton’s intelligence or capabilities relative to her husband, but it’s hard to argue that her husband isn’t a much more capable a politician with the skillset required to run for office and get elected.
Hemingway gets the Metaphor of the Month award in my book.

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Politico looks at Rubio's rebirth in this year's election. He received over 200,000 more votes than Trump in Florida.
Rubio’s spot on the ticket probably helped Republicans to such a degree in his Democratic home county of Miami-Dade that Democrats say there was a discernable “Rubio Effect” that helped many Republican state legislators survive in legislative districts that Clinton carried. For a modern-day Republican in a presidential election year, the bilingual Rubio won historic shares of support from Hispanics (48 percent) and African-Americans (17 percent), exit polls showed. He even carried a majority-black Jacksonville precinct.
Read the rest for how he did it.

Eric Sasson writes in the New Republic
that "Democrats Need a Tea Party of the Left." Hmmm. Didn't we have the Occupy Wall Street movement a few years ago? Democrats embraced the movement. How did that go for them?

This is just funny.
Before we all throw in the towel and move to Canada, we might want to learn a few lessons from a movement so many of us despise. But it won’t be easy. Democrats notoriously prefer to ruminate. They are more apt to weigh possibilities and seek consensus and common ground. Some may even point to Clinton’s concession speech and Obama’s “cordial” meeting with Trump as signs that we must give Trump a chance and try to work with him. But their words were ceremonial, nothing but the necessary platitudes that signify a peaceful transfer of power.
Hmm. Has Mr. Sasson heard about all the riots since the election? Those aren't Republicans crowding into the streets in New York or Portland.

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Well, does this make it official?
Bernie Sanders on Monday refused to blame James Comey for Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat — just moments after a top New York Democrat said the FBI director should be fired.

Sanders, who lost a hotly contested race for the Democratic nod, said Clinton was wrong to lash out at Comey, who dropped a bombshell 11 days before the election saying his probe of the former secretary of state’s email scandal might not be done.

“That’s a minor look [issue],” Sanders said on CBS, insisting Clinton didn’t lose because of Comey’s revelation.

“It’s not a question of what happens in the last week. The question is that she should have won this election by 10 percentage points.”

....“I will tell you I think there needs to be a profound change in the way the Democratic Party does business. It is not good enough to have a liberal elite,” said Sanders, the Brooklyn-raised son of Polish immigrants.

“I come from the white working class and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people from where I came from.”
He was too modest to point out how he had argued that he had a better chance of winning than she did.

Joan C. Williams, a law professor, writes in the Harvard Business Review what so many people don't understand about the American white working class (WWC). The Democrats should take notes.
The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”

“The thing that really gets me is that Democrats try to offer policies (paid sick leave! minimum wage!) that would help the working class,” a friend just wrote me. A few days’ paid leave ain’t gonna support a family. Neither is minimum wage. WWC men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that. I doubt he’ll deliver, but at least he understands what they need.

Remember when President Obama sold Obamacare by pointing out that it delivered health care to 20 million people? Just another program that taxed the middle class to help the poor, said the WWC, and in some cases that’s proved true: The poor got health insurance while some Americans just a notch richer saw their premiums rise.

Progressives have lavished attention on the poor for over a century. That (combined with other factors) led to social programs targeting them. Means-tested programs that help the poor but exclude the middle may keep costs and tax rates lower, but they are a recipe for class conflict. Example: 28.3% of poor families receive child-care subsidies, which are largely nonexistent for the middle class. So my sister-in-law worked full-time for Head Start, providing free child care for poor women while earning so little that she almost couldn’t pay for her own. She resented this, especially the fact that some of the kids’ moms did not work. One arrived late one day to pick up her child, carrying shopping bags from Macy’s. My sister-in-law was livid....

Class conflict now closely tracks the urban-rural divide. In the huge red plains between the thin blue coasts, shockingly high numbers of working-class men are unemployed or on disability, fueling a wave of despair deaths in the form of the opioid epidemic.

Vast rural areas are withering away, leaving trails of pain. When did you hear any American politician talk about that? Never.

This is so very true.
“Our First Amendment test is here. We can’t afford to flunk it,” ran the headline of Margaret Sullivan’s column in the Washington Post on Sunday. The test, of course, is Donald Trump’s presidency, which Sullivan worries will threaten the First Amendment.

The column itself is a fine example of an emerging subgenre of post-election journalism that pretends to care about free speech now that Trump has won the White House. The great irony of these missives is that the outlets publishing them didn’t seem to care all that much during Barack Obama’s tenure in office. They were willing either to turn a blind eye to the administration’s attacks on the First Amendment, or actively cheer these on....

Trump’s cavalier attitude toward free speech isn’t unique. In fact, it’s a fundamental feature of the political Left. For all its wailing about free speech in the wake of Trump’s election last week, the media spent eight years enabling and at times encouraging the Obama administration’s denigration of the First Amendment.
Of course, Democrats don't care about freedom for political speech or the efforts of the IRS.
Or what about Obama’s Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal? All but ignored by the liberal press and mostly forgotten amid the drama of election season, the IRS targeted more than 400 conservative groups in what will someday, one hopes, be remembered as one of the worst federal scandals in modern times—which is still ongoing, by the way.

Then there’s Obama’s national security fabulist Ben Rhodes, who crafted a false narrative about political moderation in Iran to sell a gullible press on the administration’s unpopular and unworkable Iran nuclear deal.
While I might worry about the link between the Steve Bannon and Breitbart which is now going to be the media mouthpiece for Trump, it is amusing to hear liberals worry about that when they have had so much of the MSM as their own mouthpieces.
[H]ere’s Politico’s Jack Shafer, clutching his pearls and worrying that, heaven forfend, Trump’s White House might coordinate with Breitbart, “functioning as his ministry of information as it did during the campaign, and going on the attack to keep renegade legislators in line.” This, in a publication whose chief political correspondent, Glenn Thrush, sent stories to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for approval, imploring him, “Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this.”

The problem here is not just the liberal media’s blatant collusion with the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, but the broader posture of the political Left toward free speech. When mainstream media outlets collectively applaud the boycott of a rural pizza parlor, or the ruination of Brendan Eich, or the persecution of florists and bakers and elderly nuns who hold disfavored political views, it sends a strong message that freedom of speech doesn’t mean anything.

On college campuses across the country, liberal professors encourage their students to boycott and protest conservative speakers, shout down administrators who dare to challenge them, and segregate themselves from anyone who might have a different view. Couched in the language of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings,” the Left’s enforcement of political correctness has created a climate of intolerance that goes beyond the campus. Even now, those protesting the legitimate outcome of a national election are in effect railing against the exercise of free speech at the ballot box.
And now, suddenly, the left is worried about freedom of the press. Please.

Does this surprise anyone?
County records show more than half of the anti-Trump protesters arrested in Portland, Ore., last week didn't actually vote in the election, according to a local TV station.

WKGW reported 69 of the 112 people arrested in recent protests either weren't registered to vote or didn't turn in a ballot. The TV station compared the names of the people arrested by police and compared them to state voter logs compiled by Multnomah County elections officials.

According to the report, 34 of the people arrested didn't return a ballot and 35 of them weren't registered to vote in the state. The station is still working to verify 17 of the protesters' voting records.

Of the 112 arrested, 25 voted.

So Ben Carson has removed his name from consideration for a position in Trump's administration. This is one of the reasons his spokesman gave:
"Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency."
Didn't the man just run to be president? And yet he doesn't think that he has the experience to work in the Executive Branch? Yet he told us over and over that he had the experience and judgment for the top job.

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Ian Tuttle has a thoughtful column about Steve Bannon. He reports that friends and former colleagues of Bannon deny that he is personally racist or anti-Semitic. Perhaps. But he has allowed some truly appalling articles to be published on his site.
But under Bannon’s aegis, something ugly has taken hold of the Right.

In March 2012, Bannon — an investment banker-turned-conservative documentarian — became chairman of Breitbart News. Up to that time, the website had been mischievous but not malicious, reflecting the personality of its founder Andrew Breitbart (a personality that has been subject to gross left-wing revisionism since his death). But under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News’s impishness became something else. When it was not promoting Pravda-esque lies during the campaign season — for example, reporting as “100% vindicated” Trump’s claim that “thousands” of people in New Jersey celebrated the September 11 attacks — the site built up its viewer base by catering to the alt-right, a small but vocal fringe of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and Internet trolls. In May, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was labeled a “Renegade Jew.” In September, an article about Trump’s “birther” press conference was accompanied by a picture of Harambe, the gorilla shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year. This summer, Bannon cheerfully informed Mother Jones that Breitbart News had become “the platform for the alt-Right.” (And if you, like Newt Gingrich, believe that the alt-right does not exist, please consult my Twitter feed.)

The Left, with its endless accusations of “racism” and “xenophobia” and the like, has blurred the line between genuine racists and the millions of Americans who voted for Donald Trump because of a desire for greater social solidarity and cultural consensus. It is not “racist” to want to strengthen the bonds uniting citizens to their country.

But the alt-right is not a “fabrication” of the media. The alt-right is a hodgepodge of philosophies that, at their heart, reject the fundamental principle that “all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” The alt-right embraces an ethno-nationalism that has its counterparts in the worst of the European far-right: Golden Dawn in Greece, or Hungary’s Jobbik. (It’s no coincidence that Bannon spent time this summer praising “the women of the Le Pen family” on London radio, referring to the head of France’s National Front and her niece, a FN member of the French Parliament.) And while this by no means excuses smashing shop windows to protest a legitimate election result, as rioters spent the weekend doing in the Pacific Northwest, it’s also the case that not every Trump detractor is as devoid of cerebral matter as Lena Dunham. If ethnic and religious minorities are worried, it’s in part because Donald Trump and his intimates have spent the last several months winking at one of the ugliest political movements in America’s recent history.

Furthermore, as some on the left have been more attuned to than their conservative counterparts, the problem is not whether Bannon himself subscribes to a noxious strain of political nuttery; it’s that his de facto endorsement of it enables it to spread and to claim legitimacy, and that what is now a vicious fringe could, over time, become mainstream. The U.S. is not going to see pogroms or “internment camps” spring up in January. But countries require bonds of trust among citizens — including those citizens elected to be leaders. The Left gnawed at those bonds with its thoughtless commitment to cosmopolitan virtues. But the Right threatens to sever them entirely if it continues to court the proponents of ethno-nationalism, or trade in their rhetoric.

.... No, Steve Bannon is not Josef Goebbels. But he has provided a forum for people who spend their days photoshopping pictures of conservatives into ovens.

To conservative and liberal alike, that he has the ear of the next president of the United States (a man of no particular convictions, and loyal to no particular principles) should be a source of grave concern — and an occasion for common cause in the crucial task of the years to come: vigilance.

The WSJ also has some thoughts on Bannon.
We’ve never met Mr. Bannon, and we don’t presume to know his character, but maybe one lesson of 2016 is that deciding that Americans who disagree with you are bigots is a losing strategy. Politics would be healthier if accusations of racism in the country that twice elected the first black President were reserved for more serious use.

We can comment more confidently on Breitbart, whose political priorities and journalistic ethics aren’t ours. Before Mr. Trump’s rise, the site was a hub for 120-decibel screeds against President Obama plus assaults on “the Republican establishment” over immigration, trade and “globalism.” (These columns were a frequent target.) Breitbart became Mr. Trump’s de facto media arm, like much of the mainstream media was Hillary Clinton’s.

“I’m a Leninist,” Mr. Bannon told a profiler for the Daily Beast in 2014. “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

He also called Breitbart “the platform for the alt-right” in July, referring to the online movement that sometimes trafficks in racism and anti-Semitism. Breitbart continues to prosecute an especially ugly campaign against the Chobani yogurt company and founder Hamdi Ulukaya for employing Iraqi and Afghan refugees who have qualified to live in the U.S.

Then again, a yellow press is not a new phenomenon and the obligation of the mainstream media is to maintain credibility so readers don’t turn to other options. That so many reporters and editors treated Trump voters like Martian invaders hasn’t helped. But the key point is that Mr. Trump’s political opponents have an interest in exaggerating the alt-right’s influence—which is marginal at best—for the purposes of guilt-by-association. Breitbart publishes offensive items, but we doubt the site will inform the State of the Union address. Internet trolls yearn for their targets to respond so they seem influential, but the best response is usually not to take the bait.

The recent media habit of searching out neo-Nazis, Confederacy nostalgists and other undesirables to opine about Mr. Trump is also a mistake. These voices have long been relegated to the fringes of politics and there’s no reason to give them a soapbox now. Nobody credible was poring over the Daily Stormer until the left found it politically useful.

Mr. Trump’s obligation is to avoid lending the prestige of the White House to this political underbelly. About the worst thing for U.S. democracy would be the legitimization of a white-identity grievance politics, mirroring how the left has polarized racial and sexual tensions to motivate voters. The President must represent all Americans, as Mr. Trump has promised to do.

The political tendency Mr. Bannon represents—and some of the unsavory customers he isn’t responsible for—deserves a watchful eye. Indulging these forces would doom the Trump Presidency, as we hope incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus understands.

As chief White House strategist, Mr. Bannon will have to decide how he relates to Breitbart from the West Wing. Will Mr. Bannon now direct the site from afar in a command and enforcement role, like the Kremlin’s RT, and attempt to sow more division within the GOP? Like it or not, Mr. Bannon will need the establishment in Congress to pass Mr. Trump’s agenda, persuade the public and govern successfully. Things didn’t turn out so well for Lenin.

The abiding truth is that partisan propaganda is not a reliable guide to reality, on the right or left. Democrats are now reeling in part because the New York Times, Think Progress, MSNBC, Vox and all the rest told them Mr. Trump could never win. Republicans don’t need a right-wing version.

William McGurn argues that Monica Lewinsky and the ensuing scandal is responsible for the beginning of the Democrats' hard swing to the left.
Because it’s clear in retrospect that the most significant aftermath of l’affaire Lewinsky was not the subsequent impeachment of President Clinton but the death of the New Democrat movement that was until then driving his administration.

Now, there’s always been more than a little mythmaking about Mr. Clinton’s political moderation. Notwithstanding some campaign rhetoric and a stint as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council when he was governor, there wasn’t much sign of the New Democrat in President Clinton until Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans gave him a drubbing in 1994. Before Republicans took the House and reset the national agenda with their “Contract with America,” the “moderate” President Clinton had reneged on his promise of a middle-class tax cut and tried to push through the unpopular HillaryCare bill.

But give the Big Dawg his due. When the Republicans took Congress, he had the wit to recognize he’d been too far in front of the American people. So instead of fighting the GOP agenda he tried to co-opt it, especially on the economy.

The result? With the exception of the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1993, the achievements of the Bill Clinton presidency date mostly from after the Republican revolution and include welfare reform and repeal of the Glass-Steagall restrictions separating commercial from investment banking. As Mr. Clinton himself put it in the 1996 State of the Union, “the era of big government is over.”

So what happened? In a word, Monica.

When the Lewinsky scandal broke, it was the New Democrats such as Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman who were Mr. Clinton’s chief critics within the party. By contrast, the Democrats who came to Mr. Clinton’s rescue were liberal stalwarts such as Reps. Barney Frank and John Conyers.

Democrats have been tacking left ever since. Yes, Barack Obama in 2008 campaigned as a moderate, but he never governed that way. What marks this year’s Democratic primary was how antediluvian it all was: a battle between Mrs. Clinton and an aging socialist, each trying to outdo the other in how much he/she would tax, spend and redistribute.

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This is a fascinating graphic
look at Americans' religious affiliations. The striking numbers are how many young people are unaffiliated. That isn't surprising, but it augurs for a very different America in a few decades.

Oh, the horror! The NYT which recently acknowledged that it had been lacking in its coverage of the election and is in need of some soul-searching, is distressed to think that Trump's victory will drain the "vibrant" Washington culture that had emerged during Obama's presidency.
Michelle Obama has burned off her date-night meals at Washington’s new generation of acclaimed restaurants by pedaling at SoulCycle. President Obama has shopped for Jonathan Franzen novels with his daughters at local independent bookstores. Obama administration staff members, their barhopping chronicled in the gossip pages, have hit the 14th Street hot spots hard.

Decades ago, Washington was broke and run by a mayor best known for smoking crack with a prostitute on a surveillance tape. Neighborhoods had not fully recovered from the 1968 riots, and an aging Georgetown elite still set the tone. The administrations of two Bushes and a Clinton in between hardly had an effect on the city.

But Mr. Obama’s arrival in 2009 coincided with an urban renaissance. Economic development, federal and private investment, and an influx of highly educated young, gay and diverse professionals gentrified neighborhoods, leading to an explosion in restaurants, bars and cafes. And the Obama family — African-American, youthful, attractive and urbane — were archetypes of a modern city on the upswing.

What the effect on Washington will be when Donald J. Trump moves into the White House is hard to predict. But many Washingtonians fear the worst.
Yup, don't look for the Donald and Melania to drop into the trendy new restaurants or go bicycling throughout the city. But come on. That is not going to stop anyone else from frequenting all the fashionable places in Washington. But don't despair. The Obamas are still going to be living in D.C. I'm sure we'll be treated to breathless excitement every time they go anywhere in the city.

Trump says he will refuse to take a salary as president. He's not the only president to do so. George Washington didn't wither. And Presidents Kennedy and Hoover donated their salaries to charities.